The History of the Minnesota Book Awards in a Nutshell

The Minnesota Book Awards was created twenty-five years ago by The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library – and many collaborators* – as part of a statewide “Festival of the Book.” Held in Saint Paul’s Rice Park, Central Library and the Landmark Center, the Festival attracted thousands of participants and led to great enthusiasm for an annual Book Awards program. In the following years, the Minnesota Book Awards was led by other host organizations, with the award categories evolving from year to year. The one constant was that the groups and individuals presenting the Awards strove to showcase the tremendous literary talent and output of our state.

Having again assumed leadership of the Awards in 2006, The Friends is pleased to continue this long tradition of honoring Minnesota books and authors. We are proud to have taken the Gala Awards presentation to a whole new level and we’ve expanded the year-round, statewide outreach activities. In anticipation of the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on April 13, 2013, we have launched this look back at 25 Years in 25 Weeks blog. We hope to build enthusiasm for the future of the Awards and appreciation for its history, as well as putting that history in the larger context of the social, political, environmental and cultural perspectives of the day. Because there are very few paper archives about the early days of the program, we welcome your comments and reminiscences… especially if you were one of those seminal collaborators. We hope you’ll subscribe, share, and enjoy our collective trip down Memory Lane. Read Local!

*Some of the lead individuals included Jeanne Fischer, Nancy Harris, Edie Meissner, Beth Obermeyer, Roger Sween, Mary Ida Thomson, Scott Walker, Stu Wilson… and who else? Again, we welcome your comments and reminiscences!


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